More than 70 percent of students at Elon participate in a study abroad program.
Students at Elon produced Desks to Destinations: 25 Students, 49 Countries, 175 Pages of Reflections, an e-book that’s far better than a collection of predictable student travel blogs posts.
“It was written throughout a one-month period for a course at Elon University to better prepare future study abroad students for the personal transformation that occurs throughout every part of this experience. The authors created this book by sharing their own personal experiences, and diving deeper into varying perspectives of their academic, social and personal understandings.”
It’s far more readable that the boring blog posts most students write when not given structured questions to reflect upon. “I’m sorry I haven’t posted more often. I’ve been too busy, I went here, I did that, I met so-and-so, I’m so tired. It’s been an amazing experience” sums up some of the more predictable average student blog posts, itineraries and “to do” lists rather than cultural reflections.
The book is divided into themes students reflect upon such as breaking boundaries of identity; differences in academics across cultures; experiences of independence from families; culture shock; changing relationships; biggest takeaways; broadening global perspectives; bucket lists; and pieces of advice.
All freshmen at Elon are required to take a course called “the Global Experience”: “This first-year seminar examines personal and social responsibility in domestic and global contexts. In developing your own view of the world and its many peoples, societies, and environments, you will evaluate the complex relationships that may both promote and obstruct human interaction. The course emphasizes critical thinking and creativity focused on contemporary and salient issues as informed by their historical contexts. The seminar is inquiry-based, writing intensive, and taught from a variety of perspectives.” Sample syllabus.
Thomas Arcaro, a professor of sociology at Elon, led a group of faculty in the arts and sciences at Elon to produce a textbook called Understanding the Global Experience: Becoming a Responsible World Citizen (2009).
More than 1,100 students participate each January in 44 study abroad programs on six continents, The month-long courses for 2017 were listed here. An outline of the many different types of study-abroad programs Elon offers are here.
Elon offers majors and minors in International and Global Studies, taught from an inter-disciplinary perspective from professors in history, political science, economics, communications, anthropology, sociology, and other majors. Majors have graduated to successful careers abroad.
Here are some of the winter-term group blogs:
- Down Under Cinema: Film Studies in Australia and New Zealand.
- Business and Culture of the Pacific Rim, 2013-2018: Vietnam, Hong Kong, Macau, Thailand, and Singapore. With Neeraj Gupta & Wonhi Synn.
- From Gutenberg to the Web: Experiencing How Media Influence Western Culture. With Harlen Makemson and Anthony Hatcher.
- Call of South Africa.
- Tanzania 2015.
- Kenya and Tanzania 2014.
Some of the better individual student blogs were:
- See Tessa Travel, Semester at Sea: 115 DAYS, 17 CITIES, 15 COUNTRIES
- France & Dabbling in Traveling: Student Katherine, majoring in French and International Business.
- Costa Rico: Student Dan Sheehan explored Costa Rican culture.
- Lexi in Italy
- Me Llamo Mackenzie in Spain
- Molly in London.
- Hattie in Copenhagen.